MotoGP Mugello Test 2012

July 16, 2012
Byron Wilson
Byron Wilson
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Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.

Jorge Lorenzo also posted the fastest time during testing after the race at Mugello.
Jorge Lorenzo continues to push for improvement, putting in 40 laps during testing at Mugello on Monday.

MotoGP riders got to spend an extra day in the Tuscany logging laps at Mugello during an official, one-day post-race test. All but Paul Bird Motorsports’ James Ellison, Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini, Came IodaRacing’s Danilo Petrucci and the injured Karel Abraham of Cardion AB Racing were present for the third official in-season test. Riders and teams worked on dialing in bikes in preparation for the upcoming Round 10 at Laguna Seca.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, coming off his win at the circuit the day before, hit the track with a new software package aboard his M1 and put in the fastest lap of the day. His teammate, Ben Spies, continues to lay low after contracting a case of food poisoning late Saturday and abstained from participating in the tests.

“Today we did 40 laps,” said points leader Lorenzo. “We worked on improving the settings of the bike compared to the race and also tried some different engine specification to help us choose the direction to work in for the future. The track was very bad this morning after all the fans were on it yesterday afternoon but it became a lot better.”

The Repsol Honda crew came with some major changes in an attempt to solve the chatter problems both Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa have experienced throughout the season. A new engine and new chassis were put to the test and produced mixed results.

Dani Pedrosa was second-fastest at Mugello after Fridays practice sessions.
Dani Pedrosa like the feel of the new engine and chassis he and teammate Casey Stoner tested at Mugello.

Pedrosa came off the day the more optimistic of the two riders, saying: “We tested many things today and I’m happy because we found some positives with the new engine and also with the new chassis that can help us in the second part of the season. I was really hoping for some improvements after the issues we have had with the extra weight, chattering and the front tires and in this test we made a step forward. The engine is better into the corner, the engine brake is smoother and the bike is not so sharp when you close the throttle, so this helps you to get into the corner.”

Stoner, meanwhile, found some improvement in the engine as well but was more subdued in his response to the results. “With the engine we found some improvements, a little smoother and some more power. As far as chassis goes I didn’t find any real benefits, we tried many different things but couldn’t get a better feeling. There were a few small areas that improved but nothing in terms of performance or for the lap time, just a marginally better feeling under braking.”

Ducati riders Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi ran laps on an updated chassis, engine and ECU. Rossi had made mention earlier in the week of looking forward to testing an entirely new engine at Mugello, but the hardware wasn’t ready.

“They had some things to try today, but it was mainly with an eye toward the future, as the substantial changes they’re working on at Ducati for the engine’s power delivery weren’t ready yet,” Rossi explained. “So this was an intermediate step, an interim engine management system through a new ECU. We started testing it this morning, and the first feelings were good, as I immediately did a good time with a used tire.”

Valentino Rossi hopes improvements to his bike will allow him to contend at his home race of Mugello.
Rossi slid off track during testing after a failure in the ECU, and though unharmed, stopped testing for the rest of the day.

Problems with the ECU later in the day resulted in Rossi lowsiding at the Correntiao and sliding off track. Luckily the Doctor was leaning hard into the corner and just tipped over, sustaining no major injuries. The Ducati crew called off the rest of testing for Rossi afterward to go over what went wrong on his Desmosedici GP12. Hayden also lost a bit of time after Rossi went down as technicians did a full sweep on his bike to try and avoid a similar incident with the American rider. Ducati will remain at Mugello for three more days to test a variety of different parts with test rider Franco Battaini.

Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso had some different concerns during testing. Crutchlow focused on improving his feeling with a full tank of gas to help improve his early race lap times, an issue which the British rider has faced for much of the season. Dovizioso worked with different settings to try and adjust his riding style in an attempt to improve his mid-corner speed.

“It was a good test and it gave me the chance to work on the bike for the beginning of the race,” said Crutchlow. “Each time I went out I had a full fuel tank and we definitely made some progress. I can still improve but I will be going to Laguna Seca confident that I will be faster in the first part of the race.”

“Today we just concentrated on trying modifications to the set-up that we don’t normally have time to experiment with on a race weekend,” explained Dovizioso of his testing session. “We changed the geometry of the bike to help me understand some different options for the future and we definitely improved the bike from yesterday’s race.”

San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista tried to dial-in his front suspension and Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera concentrated on ironing out a new electronics system. CRT rider Colin Edwards of NGM Mobile Forward Racing boarded two entirely new bikes, putting in seven laps with a San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda and six laps on an Avintia Blusens BQR-FTR. He also put time in on an upgraded version of his Suter-BMW machine, which will be the bike he takes to Laguna Seca. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Expargaro tested a new frame and teammate Randy de Puniet evaluated a new faring.

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